Extreme weather and its impact on your home or business

Australia has always experienced episodes of destructive weather, but recent studies show that the frequency, intensity, and cost of these events are forecast to increase as a direct result of progressive climate change.

The federal government’s Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements report released in 2020 stated, “Australia’s disaster outlook is alarming, with climate change exacerbating bushfires, extreme rainfall and flooding.”

Recent weather events, such as last year’s floods in Queensland and northern New South Wales to the Black Summer bushfires in 2019 and 2020, are both traumatic and costly for Australian communities and recovery can take many years.

Based on the current projections, episodes of extreme weather are expected to impose a worsening burden on emergency responders, communities, and of course private and commercial property owners.

Storms and flooding

The Bureau of Meteorology recently declared a third consecutive La Niña event is underway, meaning Australia’s east coast is set to endure yet another wet spring and summer.

Intense rain, storm surges and subsequent flooding can threaten lives, inundate properties and businesses, destroy belongings, damage vital infrastructure, and prevent access to essential public services. Often the effects of flooding are long term and can be very costly, disruptive and distressing for communities involved.

It is important to pay closer attention to general maintenance around the property. Simple steps to take include:

  • keep your gutters clean
  • re-seal your windows and doors
  • have your basement inspected
  • inspect your roof
  • trim the trees around your home
  • prepare for flooding (e.g. sandbagging) 

 

Heatwaves & drought

In Australia, heatwaves are increasing in duration, frequency and intensity in many parts of the country and wreaking havoc on foundations.

Homeowners should carefully consider the colour of their home, install fans and vents when re-roofing an older home, and add sprinkler systems on rooftops to help keep the property cool when the mercury soars.

Hail

Anyone from the Australian east coast knows the serious damage which hailstorms can cause, as well as the vast expenses needed for roof repairs. The destructive force inflicted by hailstones can vary greatly depending on the size and speed at which they fall.

Signs of hail damage to look out for include:

  • missing roof tiles
  • cracked or split tiles
  • dents in metal roofing

 

Wind

Strong winds are the most common form of destruction associated with cyclones. Their continuous barrage can uproot trees, tear down powerlines, knock over buildings and homes, fling potentially deadly debris around, sink or ground boats, and flip cars.

Furthermore, gale-force winds are able to blow shingles off rooftops, pull gutters away from rooflines and cause large tree limbs to break and fall onto buildings causing leaks and structural damage to the property.

It is important to ensure that all these construction materials are properly installed and maintained to avoid serious structural damage to your property.

Protecting your property

At some stage, it’s almost inevitable you will experience an extreme weather event. To be prepared, there are simple steps which you can take.

Firstly, make sure you have an emergency kit that’s easily accessible and includes non-perishable food items and water for each person in your household – enough to last a few days, as well as medications, important documents, flashlights and batteries.

You should also check your insurance is up to date and understand what your policy will cover. After a weather event, contact your insurer before you start cleaning up and removing goods. Even if you do not know the full extent of the damage, your insurance company can tell you what they will need to know to support your insurance claim.

How Morse Building Consultancy can help when it comes to weather event damage to businesses and homes

As specialists in causation reporting and scope of works for the insurance industry, Morse Building Consultancy’s professional, qualified, licensed building consultants and registered engineering consultants can provide impartial, independent, in-depth reports and scope of works for your insurance needs Australia wide.

We provide building and engineering consultancy services to insurers, loss assessors and other organisations in the broader insurance industry, while also providing services to the building and private sectors.